Disgrace of Monaco

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When your scriptwriter’s last film’s synopsis reads like this  – An ex-CIA agent and his estranged daughter are forced on the run when his employers erase all records of his existence, and mark them both for termination as part of a wide-reaching international conspiracy, you may want to consider how the story of Grace Kelly’s choice to abandon either her on screen career or her adopted homeland of Monaco during it’s biggest modern crisis will come across.

Sadly for the audience, it seems nobody questioned the credentials of the sole screenwriter – Arash Amel – and what we’re left with is a conundrum.

Hitting the Australian Box Office head to head with her ex-husband Tom Cruise ( in Edge of Tomorrow), Nicole Kidman would have been hard pressed to turn her back on this role.

Portraying perhaps the most iconic Hollywood star of all time is a significant lure.

With Tarantino favourite Tim Roth enlisted to play Prince Rainier III in a film directed by Olivier Dahan, Kidman may well have agreed on the proviso that no matter what anyone thought about the film, she would shine, just as Marion Cotillard did in Dahan’s Edith Piaf biopic – La Vie En Rose.

And shine she does, although perhaps any number of candidates could have stepped in tot he role, just as Tippi Hedren took the place of Grace Kelly when she made the choice to forgo Hitchcock’s offer of the lead in 1961’s Marnie.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams and even January Jones are all suitable lookalikes for Grace Kelly, but there is something enticing about Kidman’s performance. One of the tougher roles to get right – an actor playing an actor, who is lacking self confidence in the biggest role of her life – playing at being the Serene Princess of Monaco, this is the ultimate test of what you look like as art imitating art imitating life.

Kidman is believable as the sad and lonely movie star/ wannabe princess before evolving into a much more regal creature, portraying a complicated character who yearned to harness the power of the press to make the world a better place. Imagine what problems could be solved lest the Kardashians are that way inclined some day.

A fictional account based on real events, the film lacks authenticity in sevral key areas.

Language.

Was the decision to make this an English language film based on commercial considerations in the United States?

The language of Monaco is French.

Using grotesque French accents makes the English hard to understand and the tone unintentionally comical.

The sense of dramatisation leans towards the overly dramatic and all in all the story is a bit of a mess.

Or as one young woman remarked in the lift after my screening – a pile of shit.

Perhaps due to the films poor reception in Cannes along with the perception that even Harvey Weinstein wants to tweak the final edit meaning there is not yet a U.S. release date, has ensured that the knives are out for this film.

Which is a shame because it’s not a total disaster. I only wrote Disgrace of Monaco for effect.

It at least looks nice.

The team from the Guardian were less kind, revelling in it’s “catastrophic” nature – http://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2014/may/15/cannes-2014-grace-of-monaco-under-fire-video

2 & 1/2 Stars.

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